Hot off the Arab press

What citizens of other countries are reading about the Middle East.

Hassan Nasrallah talks to his Lebanese and Yemeni supporters via a giant screen during a speech against US-Saudi aggression in Yemen, in Beirut’s southern suburbs on April 17. (photo credit: REUTERS)
Hassan Nasrallah talks to his Lebanese and Yemeni supporters via a giant screen during a speech against US-Saudi aggression in Yemen, in Beirut’s southern suburbs on April 17.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Nasrallah’s speech reveals Iran’s anger
Al-Rai, Kuwait, April 21
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah appeared on television last week, launching a harangue against Saudi Arabia. While all of his previous speeches against the Kingdom use such rhetoric, the most recent one was particularly hostile – Nasrallah resorted to bashing not only Saudi policies, but also King Abdulaziz al-Saud, the Kingdom’s founding monarch. This was meant to cause personal offense to the Saudis.
Seemingly, Nasrallah’s speech is just another spasm in a series of acrimonious speeches. However, a closer look reveals something interesting: How Iran, the puppeteer controlling Nasrallah’s strings, feels about the operation in Yemen. Nasrallah got his talking points from Tehran; his anger divulges the Islamic Republic’s ire with the Saudi operation. It exposes how the international coalition led by Saudi Arabia caught the Revolutionary Guards by complete surprise, cutting Iran’s influence in the region.
It proved the Arab world’s resilience in the face of Iran’s expansionist policies, and marks the possible beginning of an era in which Tehran is no longer the powerful actor in a neighborhood of faltering countries, but an equal player – facing serious competition over its future role in the region.
– Kheir Allah Kheir Allah
Age of political lies
Al-Watan, Egypt, April 25
Everywhere we look today, we find lies; so many lies that we no longer know what is real and what isn’t. And although we live in the age of technology and communication, we continue denying the facts.
How can we believe the Syrian government spokesperson when he denies that President Bashar Assad’s regime is attacking its own citizens with fighter jets? How can we believe the Houthis in Yemen when they claim that more than 4,000 Saudi air strikes never occurred? How can we believe Hezbollah when it claims that its fighting in Syria is meant to protect holy sites such as the Sayyida Zaynab Mosque? How can we believe Lebanese politicians really want a stable government, when they fail to agree upon a president in 24 consecutive meetings?
How can we believe the Iraqi regime when it claims there are no Revolutionary Guards personnel in Tikrit? How can we believe Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, Islamic State’s extension in Sinai, when it claims its attack on Egyptian soldiers is meant to “liberate Jerusalem”? How can we believe Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan supports human rights, when he oppresses his own people and ignores the suffering of others? How can we believe the Russians when they claim they have no link to Iran’s nuclear program? How can rational human beings, with access to so much information, refuse to see beyond propaganda and seek the truth? How did we allow international politics to become so dull, cheap and pathetic?
– Emad al-din Adeeb
There is some hope for Yemen
Al-Hayat, London, April 18
There is some hope for the people of Yemen. While Saudi Arabia announced it had concluded Operation Decisive Storm in Yemen, its involvement in the country will not end. This is not necessarily an act of Saudi benevolence, but rather a Saudi realization that in order to protect its own borders, it must remain committed to improving the situation there.
Unlike the American involvement in Iraq, which left a crippling regime running a failed state, Saudi Arabia’s involvement will have to yield better results. The distance between Riyadh and Sana’a is less than 1,125 km., and therefore the Kingdom will not be able to easily disengage. Any final resolution in Yemen – short of forming a functioning government, committed to democratic values – will cause the war in Yemen to recur.
Riyadh will not be able to simply appoint a leader to rule the Yemeni people; it will have to take the desire of the public into consideration. The Kingdom understands all of this and this means that while the military operation is over, the political one has only just begun. There is some hope for Yemen.
– Jamal Khaskiji
Israeli soldiers in Hamas captivity?
Al-Dostor, Jordan, April 26
There has been increasing media discussion recently about the possible presence of Israeli soldiers in Hamas hands. The Hamas leadership in Gaza issued a public letter to its prisoners in Israel, encouraging them that their “release is near.” Israeli officials, meanwhile, denied the claims, calling them “cheap propaganda.”
Is there truth to Hamas’s claims? Could the movement be holding several Israeli soldiers, who were reported missing in action during the most recent Gaza operation? Hamas has adopted a new tactic since the kidnapping of Gilad Schalit; it now keeps information on the fate of soldiers at low intensity. This way, the organization hopes, it can force Jerusalem to make bigger concessions if a deal takes place.
If this news turns out to be true, then negotiations will be much more difficult for Hamas this time around. The Egyptian leadership has no desire to talk to Hamas officials. This leaves Jordan as the only possible mediator; it is not only in a position to mediate the efforts of both sides, but can also gain benefits per its own interest: Demanding the release of Jordanian prisoners sitting in Israeli jails.
It is expected that no progress will be made on this issue until a new Israeli government is formed. However, if the Hamas claims are true, then Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s next big task in office will be to bring his soldiers back home.
– Ibrahim Abdul Majid Qaisi
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